BJP carves out new zones in preparation for GHMC polls

Daneesh Majid

Hyderabad: In preparation for the upcoming Greater Hyderabad Municipal Elections (GHMC), the BJP in Telangana has reorganised its city unit keeping in mind the changing demographics of Hyderabad. The saffron party has created five new zones which include the Medchal and Ranga Reddy districts (as they too fall under the GHMC limits) to increase its reach.

“We did not only reorganise for the city polls but to also connect with Hyderabad’s citizens,” said Krishna Saagar Rao, Telangana’s chief spokesperson for the BJP. Rao added that with the torrent of rains that caused several issues across Hyderabad few weeks ago, the city has become a disaster with regard to infrastructure.      

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The spokesperson told that the BJP in fact is aiming for the top post in the municipal body. “With the Mayor Post in hand, we want to make Hyderabad great again,” Rao asserted.

In the 2016 municipal elections, the BJP had a paltry four seats with the ruling-Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) winning 99 seats and its “friendly” ally All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul-Muslimeen winning 44 corporation seats in its bastions of the Old City.

Senior political analyst and strategist Palwai Raghavendra Reddy however feels that the issue of infrastructure has been done to death by ever party while not in power. “Prior to polls, all parties out of power raise these issues only to backtrack on them,” he pointed out.

Reddy also feels that while the TRS might not have fared well in handling the corona-crisis — like BJP and Congress in other states — K. Taraka Rama Rao (KTR), state IT and municipal administration and urban development minister, has some laurels to rest on.

Current Hyderabad Mayor, Bonthu Rammohan

The analyst added, “More flyovers, underpasses and better roads have only emerged in the past five years which will be handy for the powers that be as far as municipal administration is concerned.”

According to Reddy, a repeat of 2016 seems unlikely for the TRS but a majority is very much within reach. Plus, with the consolidation of communal vote banks in the last five years, the BJP and the MIM will make some small gains.

“There is also a small TDP vote bank in the city and who knows whether they will instead veer towards the TRS or any of the national parties,” he clarified. Reddy is referring to the pockets of Andhra settlers in the Ameerpet-Kukatpally region, where the Telugu Desam party (TDP) had won 15 seats in an alliance with the BJP (however, many of TDP’s MLAs later defected to the TRS, which won 63 assembly seats in 2014).

As for the Congress, like in 2016, it seems that they will remain a non-entity. It may be noted that both the Congress and the BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections had managed to shock the TRS by winning 3 and 4 Parliamentary seats out of 17 in the state. The TRS had won 9, while the AIMIM, as always bagged the Hyderabad seat.

However, the setback in the Lok Sabha polls was compensated by the TRS when it won about more than 100 of the 139 municipalities (120) and corporations (9) that went to polls in January in the local urban body elections. Out of the total of 3,535 wards, the TRS won about 60 per cent of it, leaving both the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) far behind.

Prior to that, the TRS, led by Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, won 3,548 (61 per cent) of the Mandal Parishad Territorial Constituencies (MPTC) out of the total 5,817 and a staggering 449 (83%) of the 538 Zilla Parishad Territorial Constituencies (ZPTC).

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